Today’s Solutions: November 26, 2021

Reducing air pollution from vehicle exhaust is key, especially when it comes to pedestrians. A new study suggests that redirecting that exhaust away from pedestrians could be one way to prevent them from being exposed to these noxious types of gases.

While air pollution associated with transportation can be problematic throughout a city, car exhaust is particularly harmful to pedestrians walking alongside busy roads. To make matters worse, vortexes forming in the air above sidewalks can actually concentrate the exhaust near pedestrians.

To keep car-derived air and noise pollution onto the road and away from homes, countries like Germany and the Netherlands have built inwards-curving walls along motorways. Inspired by these, Imperial College London’s Dr. Tilly Collins designed a model for similarly-curved roadside barriers that could deflect exhaust away from pedestrians on city streets.

According to the university, installing such barriers along busy roadsides could “effectively disperse and reflect pollutants back towards the roads and would very rapidly improve air quality for pedestrians in an inexpensive manner.”

Even better, the structures would also reduce the volume of traffic noise in the vicinity, and even serve as scaffolds for roadside greenery that perhaps could help further reduce air pollution.

Image source: Imperial College London

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